Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin says housing and childcare crisis are driving emigration from Ireland
Soaring housing and childcare costs are becoming the main reason for emigration for the first time in the state’s history, Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman has said.
The crisis also sees some people over the age of 70 returning to shared accommodation because they have never been able to buy a house.
Eoin O Broin said he was dealing with an extreme case of a 70-year-old couple being evicted.
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The Dublin Midwest TD told the Irish Mirror that more and more people, with ‘good jobs and a good education’, are coming to tell it they are leaving the country because they cannot afford it. ‘to buy a house.
He said this is also the second time that some people have emigrated, having left after the last recession, returned home with a very reasonable dream of building a life and raising a family here, only to then have to recover in due to exorbitant housing costs.
Mr. O Broin said: “I am contacted by people all over the country and I hear more and more frequently from people who have good jobs, with a good education, but because they do not have the means, in the first place to find accommodation, in the second, it is childcare, they emigrate.
“I got this very emotional email from a guy in Donegal and he was emigrating.
“He was at the airport and he was leaving the country. He left after the last recession.
“He was a young boy, who had just come out of construction, had moved to Australia and when the economy here picked up, he moved back with his Australian partner and their young children.
“He has a very good job here, he wants his children to grow up in Ireland, but now he is leaving.
“He emailed to say people need to know that for the first time in the state’s history, unemployment or underemployment is not the cause of the emigration. First of all, people can’t afford to buy a house.
Mr O Broin said he also saw many young couples returning with their parents – often accompanied by young children – because they were desperate to save up for a mortgage.
He added: “What we are now getting in increasing numbers are men and women in their 60s, late 50s, 60s, moving back into shared accommodation.
“I had a very extreme case of a family, both retired, both in their 70s, they had been renting accommodation in a very unusual way for 45 years and the owner of the property died.
“The son took it over and he wants the house back, so they got a notice to resign.
“As they have modest professional pensions, they are above the threshold for eligibility for any housing assistance.
“But if they were to rent, at current market rates, they would have to spend 50% of their current net salary. These people have worked and paid fares and taxes and our housing system throws them at the mercy of an affordable and precarious private rental sector.
Mr O Broin spoke to the Irish Mirror about the jobs he had before entering politics.
He said: “I’ve worked a lot in kitchens with chefs and when you did that…. I worked in cafes here in Dublin in my late teens, I worked in restaurants in London during my five years there, and I worked in cafes in Belfast while I was there.
“In my 20s and 30s I spent a lot of time in the Basque Country and they have a wonderful culinary tradition.”
“I really like it, but I don’t think I could ever work as a chef, it’s a very demanding job and the pay isn’t particularly good.”
Mr O Broin came close to fame in his late teens and twenties when he was in bands – including an early version of the Frames.
He said: “In my late teens I was playing with two bands, one was called the Foremen.
“And then the collection of traveling musicians, some of whom became the Frames, they hadn’t yet become the Frames.
“In the space of about six months, the two groups essentially received commercial proposals to work professionally.
“With the Foremen, we offered a contract to work professionally, which meant we would get paid, and if we got a record deal at the end, so be it.
“And at the same time, Glen Hansard had just signed a publishing contract with Island Records and he was looking for musicians.
“I really love music, but I had no ambition to be a professional musician, so I said no to both, turned them both down.”
In the end, director John Carney took Mr. O Broin’s place in the Frames.
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